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Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and Fred usually solve ghost-related abnormal crimes every day, with their Great Dane dog partner Scooby Doo, while traveling across the country (sometimes abroad). They don't seem to be doing any jobs. Although it's noted that some members have rich parents and/or close relatives, we cannot assume that they'll provide money for the kid long term. In the series, we see mostly the team is in their youth, (probably somewhat in their twenties). So it normally means that their parents aren't providing for them now. (common in US and Europe countries). They may need money for food supplies (a huge amount of money considering Shaggy and Scooby's eating capabilities), gas for the van, other vehicle related expenses, and other expenses including paying taxes.

I haven't seen any of them charge for catching the bad guy/ghost from their client. Most of the time they don't get a client but they themselves get caught into the trouble.

How is the team funded? How do they get the money for their expenses?

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    From the same guy who funds the Friends' apartments.. – Harper Sep 10 at 4:52
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    @Harper they actually had jobs and paid the rent. Chandler paid huge chunk on their apartment while Joey chips in, and Monica paid significantly less because the apartment was on her nana's name and was rent controlled. Ross paid for his own apartment and Pheobe lived near central park and not in a big one, so it would cost less, probably – Vishwa Sep 10 at 5:01
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    I can figure out who you mean by "Team Scooby Doo", but is it worth including their real name of "Mystery Incorporated" too ? – Criggie Sep 11 at 3:25
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    @Criggie I've taken the liberty of making the edit myself. – F1Krazy Sep 11 at 6:01
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    You must be high to think of such a question – RobbyReindeer Sep 11 at 12:29
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According to Scooby-Doo Behind the Scenes (released in 1998; see Wikiquote), the initial money to start out was given to them by Daphne’s dad:

Daphne: "Well, Daddy gave us the money to start off. (shows an image of the check that first financed Mystery Inc.) We didn't even have a car, so we gave our parents gas money to drive us around."

In addition, many of the different canons have shown them having jobs. (In some of these they are adults though.) From the Wikia page for Scooby-Doo:

  • Junior detectives-for-hire: Contrary to the above, when the gang was in their preadolescence, they worked out of a clubhouse, calling themselves the Scooby-Doo Detective Agency, and charged a minimal fee for their services in solving the mysteries in their hometown of Coolsville. (APNSD)
  • Actor: Scooby got the role of Sandy Duncan's dog, after solving the case at Mammoth Studios. (TNSDMovies: Sandy Duncan's Jekyll and Hyde)
  • Carnival owner: Scooby, along with the rest of the gang, was given a share of Dick Van Dyke's carnival, after saving it from going under. (TNSDMovies: The Haunted Carnival)
  • Construction worker: He, Shaggy, and Fred took questionable jobs at a construction site. (TSDS: High Rise Hair Raiser)
  • Freelance journalist: Scooby, Shaggy, Scrappy, and Daphne became freelance journalists, forming the second incarnation of the Scooby-Doo Detective Agency. (TNS&SDS, TNSDMysteries)
  • Gym teacher: He, Shaggy, and Scrappy were hired as gym teachers at Grimwood's Finishing School for Girls, or so they believed. (Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School)
  • Co-racecar driver. (Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf)
  • Aiport customs: He and worked in customs at an airport during the break-up of Mystery Inc., but were fired when they ate all the confiscated cheese. (Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island)
  • Detective: He, Shaggy, and Scrappy worked for Shaggy's uncle Fearless Shagaford at the Fearless Detective Agency. (The Scooby & Scrappy Doo Puppy Hour)
  • Additionally, Scooby assisted Shaggy when he was a paper boy, by unloading the delivered papers into his bike's basket. When the gang discovered Shaggy's boss stole his bike chain to work his counterfeiting machine, Shaggy quit, and so did Scooby. (APNSD: A Bicycle Built for Boo!)
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    nice! I wasn't expecting this much realism from a cartoon :) – Luciano Sep 9 at 14:20
  • @Laurel thank you for the great answer, I really wish every cartoon may have this kind of realism even if it's meant for teeny tiny kids. – Vishwa Sep 10 at 4:52
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    In the two films Mystery Inc is incredibly popular and considering people dress like them they probably have merch and sponsorships. I don't think there's anything explicit though. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 10 at 8:10
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    Pioneers in the "gig economy." – mxyzplk Sep 10 at 19:17
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    @Clockwork "From the Wikia page for Scooby-Doo" - It's referring to Scooby. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 12 at 13:24
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Something else that might impact things:

Scooby Doo MAY be set in a period of economic recession.

It is never outright said in the show or by any of the creators, but there is a lot of evidence that points towards the Scooby Doo universe being in the middle of an economic recession:

(source: http://scoobyfiles.toonzone.net/monsters/index.html, as well as a number of other articles that pop up when googling "Scooby Doo recession")

  1. Nearly every episode was set in some sort of abandoned place where there would otherwise be a lot of people: an airport, mansions, castles, a ski resort, an amusement park,... Every location looks broken down, unused and abandoned, like the economy just doesn't support the activities they encompass.
  2. Nearly every criminal was motivated by monetary greed: a rare coin, a family treasure, a smuggling operation, theft for resale,... And even those that weren't motivated directly by monetary greed just wanted a job, or in one case were motivated by hatred against robots, who tend to steal jobs. There were no crimes of passion or crimes of hatred of other people, which means that most people just wanted to get money.
  3. Most of the criminals had skills that could easily land them a job: several PhD s, lawyers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs,... People that could easily legitimately make money using their skills in legal manners,... If there were any jobs around.
  4. They don't seem to make all that much money for food and other necessities. In a number of episodes, Scooby and Shaggy react very hungrily when they encounter large amounts of food, as if they don't know when they next get food. And they seem to easily be bribed by relatively small amounts of Scooby Snacks from time to time. And look at how scraggly Shaggy looks. It seems like they're struggling to get by for the most part.
  5. The gang actually is around high-school age: between 15 and 17. They might look older, but their official age as given in the show bible were given as Fred and Shaggy being 17, Daphne being 16 and Velma being 15. So if these kids are of high-school age, why are they not at school? It seems like these are just a bunch of bored kids that have nothing better to do with their time than to drive around the country in search of things to do.

All of this evidence points to Scooby Doo, and especially the original 2 seasons, to be set in the middle of an economic recession. Most people with specialized skills don't have jobs, and have turned to crime in hopes of getting money. Tourism and education have gone down the drain because people don't have the money to travel or pay for education.

So they might simply not need that much money because there isn't that much to spend it on. The gang may just simply be a roaming group of high school age teenagers that are in search of anything to do.

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    This doesn't hold true for every incarnation - separate episodes of What's New, Scooby-Doo? depict a rollercoaster park and shopping mall that are both thriving (until the monster-of-the-week shows up, of course). But you did specify "especially the original 2 series", so have an upvote anyway, for some very clever and detailed analysis. – F1Krazy Sep 10 at 10:42
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    Appreciate the different POV answer,Thanks... What I thought on the point 1, Nearly every episode was set in some sort of abandoned place where there would otherwise be a lot of people. I think that's because Ghosts usually prefer those kind of places, innit? – Vishwa Sep 10 at 11:19
  • This is clearly inapplicable to some incarnations, particularly A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, where both Scooby and Daphne are independently wealthy (but then, APNSD doesn't really take its setting very seriously in the first place). – Kevin Sep 10 at 17:08
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    Interesting take, but 1. There are thousands of these places around, even in a boom time. 2. Most criminals are motivated by greed, and showing murders by spouses makes a bad cartoon. 3. Most were supposed to be mad scientists, so motive is not necessarily relevant. 4. As teens and a dog, they would of course want to eat any food in front of them. 5. Most of the time, it was during night time, to catch ghosts, or it could be their summer jobs. – computercarguy Sep 10 at 22:26
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They all have rich parents and don't travel far, so considering gas prices are low in the US, it is very plausible that they use their allowance to chip in for gas and that is all they need. Even Scooby-Doo comes from a rich dog family, and Shaggy received some big plantation as an inheritance. Only Velma is middle-class, but she worked for her parents in a museum.

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    Any sources to back up this answer? – DustinDavis Sep 9 at 14:28
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    Especially that part about "low gas prices". – Shawn V. Wilson Sep 9 at 22:10
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    Presumably the source is the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated series, which frequently showed the gang's parents and they all had rich parents. – milk Sep 9 at 22:40
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    @ShawnV.Wilson: It is well-documented that the US has some of the lowest gas prices in the world; Norwegians pay over three times what you'd pay in, say, Alabama for a liter of gasoline. I spend more on milk than I do on gas; gas has to be dug out of rock halfway around the world, whereas milk is conveniently squirted out of local cows, and yet somehow gas is cheaper. If you wonder why that is, ask Congress. – Eric Lippert Sep 12 at 14:13
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It's important to note that Scooby-Doo is not one unified continuity and that how they got financed if at all. It's also worth noting that the show has generally gone back and forth focusing on mystery and comedy (especially in the 70s and 80s) and was somewhat revived as a mystery with side of comedy in the late 90s. Usually the post 90s is shown that the original What's New Scooby-Doo and First Scrappy-Doo seasons are somewhat in the same continuity but this doesn't include the 70s and 80s especially if the series featued part of the five heroes (The Scrappy-Doo era is often less discussed, but early episodes of him did feature mysteries that were in line with original series). Generally the Scooby-Doo movies, and the adventures featuring Only Shaggy, Velma (dropped later) Scooby and Scrappy are not cannon, nor is a "Pup Named Scooby-Doo" though it was considered better.

Scooby-Doo was revived in 1998 with the direct to video release "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island" which billed that "this time the Monsters are Real" (despite most of the comedy films already doing that... though this was more inline with classic Scooby-Doo) and featured the gang as adults in their 20s with Fred and Daphne working on a travel show called "Coast to Coast with Daphene Blake" with Daphne staring and Fred Producing. The intro scene reveals that by this point, the Mystery Inc gang known well enough for their mystery solving that an Operah like talk show host discusses their adventures. At the same time, Shaggy is a recently fired customs (for eating all the contraband) agent with Scooby as his canine partner and Velma owns a book shop and Fred hires the three on as part of the tvshow's research staff as the new season will focus on "Haunted America", thus explaining the set up for the later direct to video films and the "What's New Scooby-Doo tv series" and featured some characters from the films coming into the show (Notably the band "The Hex Girls" first introduced in the second film "The Witches Ghost" and were fan favorites).

From this, there were a few consistent elements of financial sources:

  • Daphne, Shaggy, and Fred were all from well off families while Velma's seemed to be a bit more working class, fitting her more down to earth characterization. While Daphne and Fred's family were proud of their child, Shaggy's laid back attitude was a source of embaressment and his family was more supportive of his activities because it meant not having him around the house. No sources of income were depicted though all wealthy families were depicted as "old money".

  • The Mystery Machine was Fred's car, and Scooby-Doo was Shaggy's dog. In "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Scooby's parents were wealthy dogs as well. Although this was dropped, it's possible that his parents played famous TV show dogs (ala Lassie) and Shaggy's family got Scooby from a liter for Shaggy (personal theory only). Another good theory is that Scooby's family paid them a hefty sum to put up with Scrappy.

  • The town they grew up in was most likely on the U.S. South East and was a summer vacation town as it had a beaches (with Yacht club), swamps, farms, and one original episode depicted a Confederate Mansion. It is possible that they traveled over a wider area and an alternative location could be California as prospecting history and Asian immigrants were depicted in the original series and the beaches were not in line with those on the East Coast. San Francisco was one of the earliest real world places featured and when given, the town's name is said to be "Coolsville".

  • From 1998 revival onward, they seem to have had a series of jobs and may be working for a television program or journalist piece. The gang's exploits are known to the wider public as an Operah like figure was more interested in Daphene's stories about the good ol' days then the TV show she was plugging, and Ben Ravenscroft, a famous horror writer does seek them out specifically in another movie. The following films didn't use this angle nor did the "What's New" series, though both depicted much wider international traveling which suggest this could be there funding source.

From here, the series returned breifly to a Shaggy and Scooby only comedy before getting rebooted into the much praised Scooby-Doo: Mystery Inc. which actually filled in alot of gap economic information. This time, the series was explicitly set in the beach town Coolsville, California. The local economy survives on tourism since the "Alligator Mines" dried up (yes you read that right... It's probably the weirdest thing in the show... and the series featured a Lovecraft-esque writer trying to write his cosmic horror characters into a teen romance after a Stephanie Meyers parody mocks him for not writing what people want to read, so yeah, it's pretty weird). One of the big draws aside from the beach is the town's reputation as one of the most haunted locations in the nation... which causes the gang no end of grief because they are always solving the mysteries of the ghosts, thus ruining the possible new attraction. It also lends cover to the masked criminals (in one case the guy in the mask wasn't a criminal as none of his deception was an actual crime) as one more Ghost is expected and the local areas ready belief in non-rational explination as the town not only is motivated financially to go with the new ghost story, but also because there are some strange things about the town that would suggest there are some real ghosts and monsters. All the kids families now have a vested interest in the haunted tourism industry as they are either invested in the industry or the town's success and their own children are all embarrassing them by proving the ghosts aren't real.

The gang are also teenagers and this time their school life and family lives are fleshed out a bit more as well. Shaggy and Daphne retain their old money family roots, though this time Daphne's family also do not approve of her mystery solving hobbies and to a lesser degree, Fred. Their motive is that Daphne is the youngest of four or five sisters, all of whom are successful and all whom went to the same elite university their parents met at and clash with Daphne, who wants to be less identical. Shaggy's family has their traditional depictions of disapproval, but it's much more openly depicted. Velma's parents finally are given a job, here working class, as they are the curators the town's ghost museum, which Velma works as a tour guide after schools, though they quickly decide not to make her do this, as her parents leave out the fact that the ghosts were all proven hoaxes and Velma will rattle off the crimes of various ghosts (all from the original series plots) to any tour group.

The biggest difference is Fred, who is not from an Old Money family but rather his single father is the Mayor of Coolsville. As the duly elected representative of a town that hates both crime and revealing ghosts to be criminals, Fred's dad is also not in favor of his son's hobbies, which aren't helped by the fact that Fred in this continuity has some issues grasping social norms (he loves making traps... which is weird but... not to an alligator mine level. At least even his friends think he's a bit too obsessed). It's also quickly shown that Mr. Jones may not be the honest politician one would expect, given the town's tendency to look the other way whenever a ghost shows up and he has some knowledge of the overarching mystery presented in the series lore.

As far as continuity, it's a toss up, as the show all but says the original series ghosts all happened in Coolsville and were all solved by the gang. The Ghost Museum additionally features an exhibit dedicated to the character Flim-Flam (from the 70s-80s comedy era) who Daphne wonders what happened to him and Scrappy-Doo, which Daphne shrieks in terror when she see's his statue and when she tries to apologize and explain why she reacted like she did, Fred quickly reminds her that the entire gang swore they would never discuss the events surrounding Scrappy again. Given the show's blend of being way more darker and edgier than typical Scooby-Doo, but still paying a loving respect to the series invokes, it's hard to tell what previous were cannon, and as the series progressed, events would further throw this into doubt. However, given that the series was widely loved by long term fans, expect that the characterization of the families and some other popular characters would be reflective of this depiction (this particular depiction was homaged in an episode of Young Justice's season 3.).

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